TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

More Good Judgment from Colin Powell

From the Anchorage Daily News, Oct. 10, 2008:

One of the nation’s best-known retired Army generals, Colin Powell, described Sen. Ted Stevens in court today as a “trusted individual” and a man with a “sterling” reputation.

“He was someone whose word you could rely on,” said Powell, secretary of state in President Bush’s first term, who self-deprecatingly described himself as someone who retired as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and then “dabbled a bit in diplomacy.”

Stevens, on trial for lying about gifts on financial disclosure forms, has the right to ask character witnesses to speak on behalf of his “truthfulness and veracity.” The first such character witness, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, spoke Thursday. Another three are set to testify on Stevens’ behalf, but the highest-profile witness, by far, will be Powell.

The former secretary of state said he had known Stevens for 25 years, mostly in the senator’s role as the top defense appropriator on a Senate defense appropriations committee. In Stevens, “I had a guy who would tell me when I was off base, he would tell me when I had no clothes on, figuratively, that is, and would tell me when I was right and go for it,” Powell said. “He’s a guy who, as we said in the infantry, we would take on a long patrol.”

When asked outside of the courtroom after his testimony whether Stevens asked him personally to testify to his character, Powell said he couldn’t recall if it was the senator or one of his lawyers. But he didn’t think twice about testifying, Powell said.

“Not at all,” he said, snapping his fingers to signify it was a snap decision.

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